Content Shock, Rear-View Mirrors and the End of a Gold Rush?

I am sure you have noticed how the number of books have gone up in your lifetime.  How the number of webpages explodes along with emails, blogs to read, podcasts, YouTubes, and links to cute kittens.

Mark Schaefer Grow Blog

Mark Schaefer Grow Blog

Exponentially increasing content, a limit to eyeball hours in the day and naturally it gets less valuable.  Coupled with the fact that in this world of instant sharing how much is genuinely new?

Of course strong rebuttals.  A buddy who is an expert in government website content sent me (when I mentioned the phrase “another snowflake in the content blizzard”) a link denying all of this.  It was written by “The Content Marketing Association” (and had little real logic).  No shit Sherlock the X institute says X is no way getting less important to the world 🙂

It’s a good excuse to recap the whole picture and let you know my take…

All this social media/Web2.0 lark hasn’t been going for more than 5 years.  All these self-professed experts can’t have more than five years experience and almost everyone I see is a “repeater”. Or as Seth Godin says “social media experts drive using the rear-view mirror”.

In 1998 I first had plenty of time to join the pre-2.0 internet and yes there was social interaction and user-provided content.  I was on a Concept2 rowing machine forum (well have to find some way to make staying fit interesting lol).

In 2005 I created my own forum on Transformational Tools for Energy and Mind – this has now fallen into a slumber but has 12,000 posts, over 80 members and got up to 100,000 hits per month.  Which is pretty good as I never once marketed it.

I set up a blog of “Wisdom into Business” which was far too early for the zeitgeist.  And as of 2012 The Tao of BizDev 🙂

So I have plenty of experience in doing it – albeit it was never as a money-making strategy – which is where the whole Content Shock really scares a lot of folks. If you do it because you love it – if you’d sing your song to one man or even just his dog there is no problem. If you do it “to make money”, with your heart not in it, then it will just get harder and harder.

Why did some/many/most people start “content marketing” – the practice of putting useful stuff on your website for free so people come, and return?  Well simply to sell something.  Nothing wrong with that and the theory being that advertising was less and less effective there needs to be a new way to reach your “tribe”.

But if all you are doing is trying to sell, trying to reach eyeballs then it is always doomed.  It seems to be forgotten that “social media” is a phase.  A boom.  An excitement. A gold rush. Something folks flock to as “there is gold in them thar hills”. And everyone goes and fairly soon little gold.  And those people who moved to those hills as they like them stay there and those who came looking for gold wander off looking for the next gold rush.  The next easy money.

Schaefer in his recent podcast talks in his catchy mixture of professional and zany about this. I was amazed how much of a nuclear arms race there is in content marketing. Paid cartoonists. Paid contributors. It really is the whole 9 yards of the story/myth that we all own our own media channel.  We do.  But we might also all own a guitar – don’t mean we are gonna’ get a million listeners to our weekly strum 🙂

How is your content marketing?  Are you doing it as you like doing it? Or just as a way to earn a buck?  Content is cool – if I come to your site I get a feel for who and how you are.  But how much content do I need for that?


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